Archive for the 'conversation marketing' Category launches- powerful simplicity

Lenora Edwards just launched her new 8 page website to promote her business consulting practice.

Lenora’s Site

Copy combines with good design (which is focused on who Lenora is) combines with good conversation marketing techniques like the Blog to make a strong, simple site. See how much you can get into an 8 page site, especially the client list and testimonials list, by looking at her site here.

If you want a similar site built, tough, because we don’t build sites to be carbon copies of sites we have already built. A site has to talk about you, and what you or your company offer.

That said, look at Fred Janssen’s site, and you will see some similarities- notably the strong headline, photo as the center of the page, and testimonials featuring prominently on the site. We follow the same basic design and marketing principles even as we tailor sites to individuals.

Disclaimers: Well, where to begin. My Mother hired Lenora as her business coach, and was very pleased, and Lenora introduced me to Ian which is how I got this job, and Lenora also was Ian’s business coach, and I have found Lenora a client, and she is finding me clients, and I managed the building of this site… so I may be a bit biased. Click here and have a look for yourself.

setting the tone

Anti-littering sign in Washington: “Litter and it will hurt”

Anti-littering sign in Idaho: “Idaho is too great to litter”

The pro-seatbelt sign in Washington used to say ” Buckle up, we love you.” Now it says “Click it or ticket: $101 fine.”

Everything you say sets the tone for the conversation you want to have with your customers. From load time, to quality of graphics, to size of text. It shows when you care enough to consider all of these things in advance.

how’s my seo? three quick ways to check your search engine optimization

We all want to be on the first page of Google, and here are three easy ways to see how you are doing.

1. Look for your major keywords on Google. Which page are you on for your 3-5 major keywords? Check this each week to see progress, or lack thereof.

2. Search google for So for my blog,, the output is a list of every page on the site. The important part here is that I have 235 pages on my blog. The higher the page count the better, generally speaking, the better, as it is more search engine food.

3. Search google for, for my blog, where we see that I have 49 incoming links.

For practice, do these three steps for Conversation Marketing, my boss Ian’s blog.

1. He is #10 for ‘internet marketing seattle’ and #1 for ‘conversation marketing’ and ‘ian lurie.’ I am cheating a bit because I know what terms he is high for. A better test is to identify in advance the terms you want to be high for, and then test yourself for those terms.

2. There are about 250 pages.

3. There are 155 incoming links to his blog.

Now use the data: On the keywords, Ian is doing quite well for his name, his brand (conversation marketing), and his industry in his location (internet marketing seattle). For pagecount, he just edges me out. But in incoming links, we see that Ian’s blog is more than 3 times more powerful than mine.

Rankings, pagecount, and sites linking in. 3 easy ways to assess your seo.

conversation marketing, available for free online

Ian put his book Conversation Marketing online for anyone to browse today. He writes about it here, where he says he put his internet marketing book out for three reasons:

1. Get more input.
2. He wants the book to grow. Possibly a wiki format in the future.
3. Great propaganda.

I would add to this list in a few ways:

4. Establish authority- hinted at in the three reasons above, this sharing of information helps establish Ian as the authority on internet marketing that he is. While some of our competitors may write articles, they don’t put their books online for free. Ian is saying, here is how I think, now interact with me about it. Godin did a similar thing with the Ideavirus book, with one crucial difference:

5. Search engine food- Godin made his book freely available in PDF, which is not as good for search engines as plain text. Right now, Ian’s book is online as it is written. Over the next months he will be rewriting parts for SEO. His site currently has 250 pages of content. It had 197 before. And those 50 additional pages of content can be very keyword rich.

What this means to you:
Release information, unless that is what you are really selling. Portent is selling internet marketing expertise in seeing the big picture and doing all the parts so they fit together well. We are not selling a book.

You are not selling manuals. Or books. Or CDs. Use those items to get more people to come to buy what you really are selling.

contingency design: what not to say, on the phone and on the web

Ian refers to it as contingency design: “Good contingency design means always having to say your sorry, but never having to say ‘see you later’.”

Service Untitled calls it The Big List of Things Not To Say: “I’ve taken the time to go through quite a few posts, organize, and add to a long list of things that bloggers and their readers suggested that customer service representatives not say.”

Whether you are talking about phone communication or a website, there is a right way and a wrong way to talk with clients.

Service Untitled’s #3 thing not to say is [silence]. As in, always have some kind of answer.

Amen. If you have someone’s attention, and you stop responding, they will go away. This is what Ian says about contingency design- if someone looks for a page that does not exist on your website, great! This is your chance to take care of them and continue the conversation.

Take a look at the Search page for CASSIN Collections for an example of basic contingency design. Type in ‘boots,’ and click Search. CASSIN does not sell boots, so you get a result saying

Sorry, we didn’t find what you were looking for. Before you try your search again, you might want to look at these four hot items.

And then it shows you 4 items that CASSIN wants to showcase. (Disclosure- CASSIN is a client of ours, and I wrote that ‘no results found’ page.)

Sorry, we didn’t find what you were looking for.
First, I (the company) take responsibility for the user not finding what they want. You aren’t wrong, I am, and I am sorry. When on the phone, Service Untitled suggests “I don’t think that is 100% correct.” A tack I take is saying “I don’t get it” (making the language as formal as appropriate). It is not that you have explained your idea poorly, it is that I do not understand.

Before you try your search again,
Call to action. Of course the user wants to search again.

you might want to look at these four hot items.
Call to action. This part could be better if it was more specific. Like, “if you are passionate about fur coats, check out the Melissa. And if winter finds you lusting for color, take a closer look at the Beverly.”

Read Service Untitled’s Things Not To Say, read Ian’s article on Contingency Design, and help people keep the conversation going with your company.

And if you are serious about improving communication skills, then check out George Walther’s Power Talking.


You can now find a blogroll on the right nav bar. See these five quality blogs:

They are the ones I try to read every day. Enjoy.

Also, by a fluke of Google, for today (and today only?) if you search google for ‘fastest growing blog’ you will find me in the #1 and #2 spot. Sort of neat.

somebody thinks i am special, or, how to get mentioned on blogs

Mike thinks I am worth talking about. Because I noticed and commented a bit on why his blog Digital Agency had the top spot in Google for ‘youtube beat superbowl’ when all he really said was, hey, check out this AdAge story.

I took a look at the URL and title tags for his blog post vs. the AdAge article. I made a small point, that having your topic concisely titled in the URL and title tags is a good idea.

And this was enough for Mike to link to me.

And now me and him own the top 5 spots on google for ‘youtube beats superbowl.’

Lesson #1: Interesting content is not king. As Andy said in the comments on Mike’s blog, “Yeah, but who bothers to link to AdAge these days? We’re all interested in meta-commentary.” Content is nice. Conversations are better.

Lesson #2: Comment on other people’s blogs. A lot. Savvy bloggers notice.

Lesson #3: When you comment, say something useful. If you want to say “I love you, you are great,” that is fine, but don’t expect that to do anything other than warm the blogger’s heart. Which is good. But if you want to build traffic, comment on something that will be of interest to the blogger and to their readers.

Mike and Alice at Digital Agency say they are “Advising, commentating, consulting and creating in the new marketing world of Web 2.0.” So say something worth their time to listen to.

youtube officially beats superbowl

Ad Age tells about how, for the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, a youtube video beat out the superbowl for ROI.

Welcome to the internet age.

If you too want to join this whole “internet” thing, even though it probably is just a fad, come talk to us over at Portent. I know “internet marketing” is not going to last, but for these companies we seem to have done a decent job.

Thanks to Digital Agency for the Dove link.

qualifying in recruiting- crayon vs gm vs apple- keep it simple

Go to crayon’s homepage, and click on ‘people’ in the upper right corner. They end their pitch for new people to join up with “consider yourself essentially hired on the spot. How’s that for a job interview?”

They list the things they want- what is important to them. You need to have been blogging about marketing, and/or podcasting.

Because they base themselves on an island in Second Life, they can say “if you’re right for crayon, you’re right” and don’t worry about that relocation hassle.

I wish every page we built qualified this well for who we want to buy things from our clients. Simple, clear, with a pretty obvious Contact button (call to action).

Contrast this with, oh, say, the GM careers site. First, they call it careers, just like everyone else.

Now go to that page- what are you supposed to do? No clear call to action, and an overwhelming number of choices. Now, GM is huge, but that is no excuse.

I hate to be typical, but compare it to Apple’s career page. Apple says: here are 4 choices. Click one.

Look in the New Grads section (which has the button ‘start your career’). It tells you the 3 things that happen next.

So crayon says ‘if you are this kind of person, we want you.’ GM says, well, nothing, because they shove so much information at you that you pass out and die. And Apple says ‘here are the 4 ways you can get in to the company.’

Now apply this to your homepage. Is it easy to buy, easy to know where to go?

Check out the homepage of BlogHer, the women’s blogging community. I am on their case to add three buttons right below the nav bar: Join BlogHer, Find a Blog, and Advertise. Because right now, there is too much information for me to know what to do right away. (Disclosure- we advertise with BlogHer, and we like them, so you should to.)

Check out our client Dessy. The homepage gives you 6 choices in the upper left (where the eye travels to first).

Check out Linda Keith CPA for a speaking business. Do you want to sign up for a class, or sign up for the newsletter? There are more choices on the left nav bar, but these 2 stand out.

In addition to my mutterings, check out Godin’s book The Big Red Fez which basically tells you to make sites really easy where it is super obvious where to click.

If you are not sure that your site does this, and you are not sure how to make it do this, comment here and I will take a glance.

pleased to meet you

You think I would understand this by now, being in client services and all, but it surprised me a bit when we talk with a client this morning by phone who expressed how pleased he was to talk with us, to meet us.

Now, we had emailed back and forth, but never talked. Or rather, our boss and his boss had talked, but not us. So now we know what each other sound like, and have a good sense of where the other is at, how happy they are with where the project is at.

We also both got extra information that the other may have deemed not important enough to include in an email, and yet colors the situation in an important way. As in, there is this other project following yours, so we need the site to get done before we can start this other thing.

So besides doing a good job, clients want contact. And they don’t get it much. So give them a call, just to say that everything is all good.

Go to the new blog

I'm now blogging about internet marketing at

Red Beard Consulting

At Red Beard Consulting I work on internet marketing primarily for speakers. I also work with Infusionsoft.